National legislation authorizing MSP was enacted in October 2016—and the drafting of an MSP plan has started. Sixty coastal municipalities and regional councils have the planning mandate for their adjacent marine waters up to the border of the territorial sea. Three sub-national plans will be developed, each covering the EEZ and territorial sea: (1) the Bothnian Sea; (2) the South-Western part of the Finnish coast; and (3) the Gulf of Finland. The relevant Regional Councils for each marine area will draft the marine plans. The regional marine plans will be non-binding.
The Land Use and Building Act is the most important act to steer land use, spatial planning and construction in Finland. According to the Act, land use planning is implemented on Territorial Sea as well as on land. Municipalities have the planning mandate, and they are in charge for drafting local level plans. Regional Councils are municipal organizations as well, and members of the council are representatives from the municipalities. Regional Councils are in charge for drafting regional land use plans. In addition, the Government defines national Land Use Guidelines that should be taken into account throughout the country in all land use decisions and land use planning.
The territorial sea is included in the regional land use plans drafted by eight coastal regional councils. These general plans set out medium-term and long-term objectives for regional land use strategies that guide regional development and steer decisions on issues that are of a trans-municipal or regional nature. Regional land use plans are legally binding.